Friday, 27 January 2017

The boat of words casts anchor - Mohamed Al-Harthy

Remarkable, the three of them together:
the mouse,
the keyboard
and the word processor
that fails to process them, but rather
does quite the contrary
and makes me forget
to save them in the proper file.
And so the icon of accusation
appears on the screen
before I can even accuse myself
or the word processor
or the playful mouse
after the disappearance of many a poem
about nights and morning suns . . .

The icon’s accusation wore me out
so I thought of looking for a typewriter
(like the one Virginia Woolf used),
one that would not weary
of tapping out its symphony
with speedy slowness
or slowing speed.
But these enchanting instruments
have fallen out of use these days
and no one pays them any heed:
under heavy guard they bemoan their fate
in museum kingdoms
that no one ever visits.

I almost raised the flag, I almost surrendered,
but I opted to follow Hemingway’s advice
and go back to writing with a pencil.
I traversed page after page with that sharpened oar
so that the boat of words might finally cast anchor
on arrival’s coast. But I went too far
in my emulation, and started
scrawling on the walls
like him,
and so I failed to master
his short sentences.

Mohamed Al-Harthy (born 1962) Oman
Translated by Kareem James Abu-Zeid
Source: Poetry International

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